For several years, our deck was pelted with blazing hot sun almost all day long. The deck was almost unusable for most of summer. We could not sit out there and enjoy it until sunset. When we refreshed the dining area, we were inspired to add a tent over the dining table so the deck would be shaded and we could use it more. The tent was a total game changer! That small modification made the deck feel more like a cozy outdoor dining room than ever before.
Before the Deck Refresh
Through the years, our deck furniture was mismatched, old and the metal chairs we loved were totally rotting out.
When we first bought a dining set for the deck, the metal chairs and glass table were forest green. Our deck would get so hot that the glass table eventually shattered out of nowhere from the heat of the blazing hot sun. When the glass table shattered, we decided to avoid glass and go with a black wrought iron “look” and purchased one from Lowe’s. Since the chairs were green we spray painted them oil-rubbed bronze to coordinate with the new table. We added some new cushions and, voila, we had a new “set.”
We had an outdoor umbrella that we used to shade the table, but it didn’t cool the area down much around the table. Chris and I would squeeze into tiny areas just to find shade! It was not working.
Truth be told, we liked that set-up with the exception of the sun. Since the chairs started rotting out, it was time to do something about the deck to make it more cozy, comfortable and inviting.
The Deck Refresh
Inspired by my sister-in-law’s use of a pop-up tent on her deck, I started shopping around for pop-ups. I happened to walk into Lowe’s one day, saw this incredible outdoor gazebo and knew it was PERFECT! I loved that it had the sides that could be pulled back. It even has a mesh you can zip up to keep the bugs out. We picked the gazebo up that weekend and set it up in early spring. It was worth every penny – we love this gazebo!
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Outdoor Dining Table
Turning my attention to the table, we originally wanted to purchase one of those black wrought iron sets with cushions. Pricing that out, a wrought iron set would have cost us well over our budget. So, I started searching Pinterest for inspiration. I found lots of garden-style dining space inspiration that I knew I could replicate for less.
After researching outdoor dining areas, I decided to go with a wood farmhouse table and natural wicker chairs. When I told Chris my design idea, he questioned how a wood table would hold up in the elements. Since the wood table will be covered under the gazebo and I planned to refinish it with deck stain, I knew it would work. And besides, if I got the table for a really good price, who cares if it started to rot out after a while.
The Deck Dining Area
I eventually found a wood farmhouse table on Facebook Marketplace for $50. Isn’t that a steal?! I lightly sanded the legs and top of the table, then refinished each with white solid and natural stain respectively.
Since the table was done, I started looking online for natural outdoor wicker chairs. I found a few that I loved at Pier 1, so I went to the store so I could actually sit on them. Since we were planning to spend a lot of time outside, these chairs had to be super comfortable!
The chairs I loved happened to be on sale for Memorial Day weekend, so I scooped them up pretty quickly and picked out ivory cushions. Yes – ivory cushions are not easy to keep clean but I am still happy I went with them because that is the look I wanted! Why sacrifice the look I wanted to not be ultimately happy with it? I just throw them in the wash every now and again to keep them looking good and that works for me.
Decorating the Deck for Summer
With the essentials complete, I added an outdoor rug that does not look like an outdoor rug at all! I love the vintage vibe on this rug from Boutique Rugs (paid link) Since adding the outdoor area rug, the dining space is more defined and feels warm and inviting.
In addition to the area rug, we added some fun lights from Target. I love the little round balls of light instead of the holiday lights we used before the deck refresh.
I brought all of my houseplants outside to summer in this area and keep most of them out of direct sunlight. Houseplants on my deck lend a tropical vibe that we don’t get in suburban New Jersey! They also warm up the living space by softening the hard edges and corners of the deck area.
In addition to my houseplants, I plant large containers of annuals to brighten the area. Flowers make me happy so I including them in my container gardens. Each year, a visit to the nursery inspires me to go with a theme. It is usually purple, but this year, I was inspired by pinks.
Finally, I tucked in some lanterns, watering cans, bird houses and other natural elements to finish off the outdoor dining room. I also keep blankets close by for use on cool summer nights.
What do you think of this outdoor dining space? I am loving it and we are out here All. The. Time! At night, it feels so cozy and comfortable with all the mood lighting. Have you started decorating our deck or patio? If not, I hope this brought some inspiration for your outdoor spaces.